I Would Like You to Meet My Invisible Friend

When my daughter was very young, she had an invisible friend. He was a penguin and his name was Louie. My husband traveled frequently and Hannah’s creative, imaginative way of coping was Louie.

Louie’s chief occupation, it seemed, was annoying Hannah’s older brother. Wherever Zack wanted to sit, Louie was already sitting and Zack was in constant danger of crushing the fragile penguin.

Apparently, Louie also had the ability to move with lightning speed from chair to chair so Zack would have to play a harrowing game of “guess where Louie is sitting now?” before Hannah would clear the way and inform him of the one seat currently unoccupied by her imaginary friend.

Louie was capable of causing even greater mischief than that, however. After a couple months of Louie’s existence, I thought to mention him to Hannah’s kindly Sunday school teacher.

“Hi, Mrs. ____, I just wanted to let you know that I am aware of Hannah’s imaginary friend, Louie and I’m wondering if he shows up in your classroom at all.”

“Oh dear, Louie is imaginary?”

“Yes, he’s an invisible penguin, why?”

“I am so relieved to hear this. I was beginning to have concerns about this “Louie person” who would come to stay at your house whenever your husband was traveling!”

OK, so I imagine Louie the invisible penguin had managed to send my name to the top of several prayer lists before I could clear things up!

Invisibility is a tough trait in a friend. Just ask the Israelites! They struggled constantly with serving an unseen God.

Other nations would stand beside their giant bronze or wood idols and the Israelites would proclaim their God to be greater and more powerful.

“Oh, really?” The enemy nation would respond. “If He’s so great, then show us your God.”

I imagine the Israelites looking at one another until one would respond “OK, He’s invisible but He’s right here. You just can’t see Him, that’s all.”

Sometimes the nation of Israel would weary of serving a God no one could see and they would fall prey to the temptation to worship idols or rely on kings or great shows of wealth and power. This never led to anything but trouble and it would be easy to judge them for it if I didn’t struggle with it myself.

Recently, after a stressful work situation, I was debriefing with a professional counselor who asked me about the current stresses in my life outside of work. He asked me what kind of support I have.

“I do have a strong relationship with God and He is a source of support.” I replied.

“Well, really I was looking for support outside of yourself.” He responded.

“I have family and friends but God’s really my biggest help. Wait, are you saying He is NOT an outside support?”

“A belief system is a wonderful aid in life but we do need outside resources.”

“So,” I replied carefully. “Are you saying you don’t believe that God is an outside resource? Are you saying that my faith is helpful but it’s all from within me?”

“Exactly. If God is real for you and you derive strength from that, then that is good.” He smiled as if I’d finally understood a challenging math problem.

“What if I tell you that God is a being, a separate entity that exists, is real and with whom I have a real relationship? What if I tell you I talk with Him and I hear from Him and He provides actual help to me?”

“Yes, well, that’s very interesting, isn’t it?” He replied as he made a note in his file, no doubt recommending that I be watched for other signs of mental illness.

It’s not easy serving a God no one can see.

People can see other people, money, diplomas on walls, big houses, nice cars, fit bodies, beauty, followers on twitter, hits on blogs, ratings, poll results, bank accounts and titles. They can’t see the God we serve.

So when we tell them He is our help in times of trouble, they worry about us. When we tell them we stand up for an unpopular truth out of obedience to Him, they are angry with us. When we invite them to enter into a relationship with Him, they think “What good is it to have the friendship of an invisible God?”.

They’re thinking Louie the penguin. We’re talking about the most powerful being in the Universe.

Even more reason for us to continue to testify along with the Psalmist that the Lord is a present help in times of trouble. It is as vital and as difficult to testify to now as it was in the days of ancient Israel.

1 If the LORD had not been on our side—
let Israel say- 2 if the LORD had not been on our side
when men attacked us, 3 when their anger flared against us,
they would have swallowed us alive; 4 the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away. 6 Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 124

But testify I shall. The Lord is with me. He is my helper, my rock, my deliverer, my salvation. He hears me when I call and He answers me.

Do you testify to the presence of the invisible but living God in your life? What is your testimony today?

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    The Conversation

  1. Karin says:

    Over the years my thoughts have many times been the same as yours. What I still keep asking myself is this, “If the Lord is truly my Helper, my Rock, my Salvation, why is that not enough? Why do I seek people’s encouragement, advice, help, listening ear, etc. etc. when I’m down, hurt, confused, or whatever and not just Him alone?
    Interesting post!

  2. I don’t think that it’s wrong to need other people, Karin. I think it’s best to go to God first and honestly sort things out before we take it to others but Eve wouldn’t have come along if God thought Adam and He would have been just fine without her. It was not good for man to be alone. He designed us to be in community, in relationship – just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in relationship. Yes? He is sufficient when we find ourselves alone and that is a good truth to hold on to.

  3. KB Cook says:

    Lori – even from those who are within a/the community of believers, I occasionally get the “what’s with her?” look when I speak of the insights and enlightenment I receive from the LORD. These folks don’t mind if I say, “I read this in the Bible today…” but it seems that if I don’t offer some “tangible” evidence to them, I’m considered “one of those” who hear voices or have imaginary conversations with invisible friends. BTW – MY invisible friend (before Jesus) was “Tommy” and he gave me no trouble but my parents weren’t fond of him.

  4. Lynn says:

    Lori – Fantastic post.

  5. Anytime I think invisible, I think wind and hurricanes. No arguing that invisible force once you’ve been through one. Any more than arguing God’s force once you’ve been helped by him.

  6. Carmen says:

    I enjoyed this post immensely! I’d like to put it on my FB as a link…is that okay? I’m sure I have a few friends who would enjoy reading your blog.

  7. Hadn’t better tell the counselor you can see Him! Great post, “Elevator friend.”

  8. Thank you all for visiting and sharing your thoughts! Carmen, you may absolutely share this link on FB or anywhere you like. The Share button on each post should make that easier.

    Kim, I like that wind and hurricane idea.

    Marcia! We need an elevator from RI to SC!

  9. Carmen says:

    LOL…It’s amazing how I have eyes, but can’t see! Thanks for allowing me to share on my FB! 🙂

  10. krex_1 says:

    It’s interesting that anything spiritual is okay to the average person – just don’t cross the line to becoming one of “those” who believes God actually enters the reality of everyday life. And yet if He doesn’t, what’s the point?